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Finding Center

Success. Last night, amidst trouble at the job, multiple distractions at home, and a pinch of self-doubt, I managed to win a little bit of money. My take was a whopping $15, which is enough for two lunches, but not much else. Still, a win is 1000 times better than a loss. Last night's homegame was another big success. Yesterday morning, I expected 5 players, but by gametime, that number jumped to 8 (10 were expected, but thankfully two didn't show). The table was:

Seat 1: Me. My over-aggressive style had people (read: Roose) tell me that I was bluffing all night. A couple of huge pots against Hole were the highlights. See some details below.
Seat 2: Wanderman. This guy was firing $5 bets into 1.50 pots all night. It was really quite a sight, considering no one pegged him as a gambler. Even when he raised a $1 bet to $2 I found it confusing. I have to say though, I get an odd amount of pride when my friends play good poker. As Wander would say, he was consistently inconsistent, and that's as good a strategy as anyone.
Seat 5: Katzner: One thing is for sure about this semi-regular, and fellow lawyer; he knows what he is doing. While I think he left a loser for the night, I always am careful against a player like Katz. He knows the game, and he's a consistent player. A real shark.
Seat 4: Robbie Hole. Always a crowd pleaser, Hole's evening did not end up with a plus sign. Rather, his aggressive style fell flat on a couple of occassions, including a notable hand against me, in which Hole was on the sharp end of the suckout.
Seat 5: Timmy Bones, aka Vinny Delpino, aka Boner, aka about 6 other nicknames du jour. Bones is no joker. He's another one of the calculated players. He's also known for his river suckouts, although I don't think it happened once last night.
Seat 6: DJ Mock. Mock hasn't played with us in a while, so it was nice having him there. He's one of those players that gets silent at the table. Then, 15 hands later, he'll raise to $1.50, and everyone looks around thinking, "Who is this guy, and when did he get here?" I have a lot of respect for that style, since its hard to miss my loudmouth antics at the table.
Seat 7: Dave Ruff. Ruff is the other half of the Ruff-Bones connection. Both roommates are solid players, and Ruff had particular luck (skill) last night, and was the big winner.
Seat 8: Dave Roose. I love watching Roose play. Even though he left down a whopping $6, he still has a great fundamental game. And its a good time whispering to each other about what we think the players are holding when we are out of hands.

So, there were three memorable hands for me last night, and they were all against Robbie Hole. I guess we've played together too much, because apparently I had him read all night. This isn't the first time either. I just have a feel for his game, perhaps because it is so similar to mine.

Hand 1. I had 3c5c, in LP, so I limped in. Hole was a blind. The flop was AK3, no clubs. We both checked. The turn was a Q. I bet $3 or so. Hole called, and I was sweating. The river was a J. I knew there was a straight draw out there. Hole checked, which surprised me. I raised $8. He folded. I showed my pair of 3s, as he was complaining how I hit the straight on the river.

Hand 2. I had AK in LP, and Hole was in the blind again. My pre-flop raise of 1.50 was called by Hole and Bones. The flop was Ad2d4h. I had no diamonds. It was checked to me and I bet $2. Hole called. Bones folded. The next card was a blank. Checked to me, and I raise $4. Hole called. The river was another blank. I bet $8, and Hole called. I showed my AK, and he showed AJ.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you must be careful with AJ. Sound familiar?

Hand 3. I was very happy about this hand particularly. I had AT suited in LP again, and I raised it to $2. Hole called, because he just can't help himself. It was Hole and I heads up again. The flop was KTx. I had middle pair with a great kicker. Hole checked. I raised $3. He called. The turn was a blank. Hole checked. I thought for a moment. If Hole had the K, he would've raised. If he hit two-pair he would've raised. If he had a set, he would've raised. Hell, if he had JJ in the pocket, he would've raised. He had to have the T as well, and he couldn't beat my kicker. I bet $5. He called. The river was another blank. Hell, come to think of it, I think it was a diamond, which would make three diamonds on the board. But Hold didn't have diamonds. I was pretty sure of that. Then Hole bet $5. Damn him. That was my move. I thought for a moment, and then I raised $10 on top. Hole thought about it. He assumed I was putting a move on him, and he called. My AT beat his QT. I was betting for value, at the right time with the right cards. Bless me.

There was another hand against Hole. This one was early in the night. I'll make this one a bit shorter. Hole had A6, and I had AJ. I bet pre-flop and he called. The flop was A46. Hole bet and I called. The turn was 7. He bet, I called. The river was another 7. He pushed all-in for another $6.50 or so. I called. The 7 on the river crushed him. His two pair turned into Aces up with a shit kicker. My J played and I took his money. It happens. I'm happy I won, but I'm not proud. I didn't expect the A6 at all. If it wasn't for runner 7s, I would've lost.

So, there you have it. My homegame in a nutshell, with a focus on Hole and my battles. Roose once again flaunted my blog in front of the other players, which inevitably results in everyone making fun of me. I'm sure a couple of them will be reading today, though, so whose laughing now? No, really. Who is laughing? It isn't me.

The SNG challenge just gained another entrant, TripJax. We are glad to have you in the challenge. Hopefully the challenge will be up and running soon. I can't wait.

Have fun people. And play some poker for me, will ya?

posted by Jordan @ 8:44 AM, , links to this post




Seeking Zen

I just received some bad news at work. I won't go into the details, because frankly I'm sick of talking about it, but I will say that it was a kick in the balls while I was looking in the other direction. Tonight, I have a home game at my apartment. The guest list has ballooned to 10, which is actually problematic, since my table only seats 8. But we will figure something out.

Of more immediate importance is my tilt-factor. I can feel tilt like a normal person feels the cold (I'm sure I'm not alone in this). I can feel my anxiety ratchet up a notch. My heart feels like it is beating irregularly. My thoughts and movement are alternatively jumpy and paralyzed. Everything zen? Everything zen? I don't think so.

But I need them to be zen. I need to be calm and confident in order to perform well at work or at poker. I need that desperately now, because the only thing that could make this day worse is to lose $100 when I know I am not on the ball. Shit.

The Dalai Lama, in one of his books, shared an Indian proverb that I often share with people. I may have already mentioned it once on this site. It goes like this: There is never any reason to worry. If you can change whatever is bothering you, you should use all of your energy to change it. If you cannot change whatever is bothering you, then you cannot change it, so there is no use to worrying.

You are so right, Dalai. Why should I be upset about this work thing? I should, instead, work my ass off to show that the client's opinion is wrong (and it is wrong, of that I am sure). Or, if that won't change a thing, then why should I give a damn. I might as well shake it off. It's not as though they are firing me. They are just shifting me to a different client (I guess I am sharing the news). Shit.

My brother Keith first introduced me to Buddhist beliefs. Keith is not a zen guy. By the time I picked up the buddist teachings in earnest (only the theories and not the religious aspect), he had already given up. I asked him once why he wouldn't give it a try. His response was that he was a product of Western culture, and those Eastern ideas may be good, but he just couldn't live that way. In the end, he was a Westerner.

I am a Westerner. But if the teachings of Eastern culture can make me a better person, employee, or poker player, then I will use them. I will adapt them. I will succeed.

This actually was very cathartic. I have to get back to the grind. If anyone knows of any legal recruiters or positions open in the law field in the NYC area, please let me know. I don't think I need it, but its always best to have options.

Everything zen? I hope so.

posted by Jordan @ 4:18 PM, , links to this post




Can't Touch This

Thank you Cablor and Gamblor. The god of cable and god of gambling shown bright upon me last evening. After avoiding my cable-less, Internet-less apartment for more entertaining surroundings (and the best Mexican food in the NYC), I returned to full service following the Internet and cable blackout that began two days ago. I hopped onto some limit challenge action at Noble, and preceded to whoop some sorry a$$.

It was a massacre. Two of my biggest hands came from one particularly bad player, murph (shortened so that he can feel somewhat anonymous and hide from his shame). In the first hand, I was sitting on the button with AKo. Surprisingly, by the time it got around to me, murph had raised, and mid-position had re-raised. Well, I checked, but murph was kind enough to cap. The flop was Ad2d6h. Murph bet. MP called. I raised. Usually, I wait until another card comes off before raising a bet. My logic is, if I call the flop bet, he will probably bet again on the turn, where my raise will be worth more money and he will be more obliged (pot odds) to call. Not this time, though. I could feel the action at the table. I raise. Murph calls. MP calls. The next card was an 8c. Murph bets. MP calls. I raise. Murph calls, but MP folds. Good move MP. Now I am a bit concerned. Maybe murph has a flush draw, or maybe he has pocket 2s or 6s. But I've got a great kicker, and if he paired that Ace and didn't hit two pair, I'm golden. I raise, and murph calls. The river is another blank. Now what? Murph bets. I raise. He calls. Then I take down the hand with Aces, with a King kicker. Murph, like a good little lapdog, shows his cards, AJ! Sucka!

And that, my friends, is why you must be very careful with AJ.

I then proceeded to bet and raise just about everything. I was getting decent cards. Pocket 7s. AT twice in a row. AQ. Followed by some foldable hands, and then AA. I can't remember much about the AA hand. I do know this. I more or less bet and raised the entire way. There were two callers most of the way, and then one folder on the river. My good man murph was kind enough to pay to play and got to see my beautiful bullets. Brickasha!

Other notable hands include back to back wins with...say it with me...cue David Roose inappropriately and obviously pounding the table with his fist...the HAMMER! In the first hand, I bet pre-flop ('cause that's how I do) and flopped top pair! That's right. The board was 4x5x7x. I bet at it, and had one caller. The turn was a Tx. I bet. One caller. The river was a Kx. Was I slowing down? Hell no! Bet, one caller. Pair of 7s did it. I show my hammer, and announce a meke "hammer!". What do I see in the very next hand...hammer time! I bet pre-flop, and I get a couple of caller. Hell, they know I'm willing to bet pre-flop with the worst hand, so might as well call the madman. Now, my hand was 2h7s. The flop was 2s8x9s. Yikes! Bottom pair. I have no choice, but to bet. Two callers. Ok then. Turn is a Js. Wha? Flush draw too now. And a straight draw. And a straight flush draw. Bet, one caller. Now, I have to assume he has an 8 or a 9. I need to hit this, and I need to hope he doesn't have the better of it. 4s comes out. I hit the flush. But is my 7s enough. Let's bet and find out. I bet. He calls. I win! HAHAHAHA! This time it was a strong "HAMMER!", followed by "two in a row", followed by "HAHAHAHA" (lol is for teeny-boppers). Some guy at the table told me to relax. I can't think of anything more relaxing than picking up the hammer in a micro limit twice in a row and winning. Table tilted, and I cleaned up.

The total take for yesterday must've been about $40+, in about 1 1/2 hrs of play. In total, my limit challenge winnings are at $155, and I need to hit $160 (or is it $165) before I move up a level to 1/2. I can't friggin' wait.

Tonight I have my 2nd homegame since its revival last week. Lineup includes perrenial favorites Roose and Hole, rare appearances by Wanderman and DJ Mock, and possible appearances by Dave Ruff (an understated shark), Dr. Dre (last week's big winner), and Katzner (fellow lawyer/gambler). Should be a good time.

Got much to do, so I'm out. The SNG challenge is falling into place. The location will be UB. The entry fee/prize pool is $25 per person (currently 4 players, see last post). The starting bankroll will be $55. Players will have four weeks to increase that bankroll as much as possible, playing any SNGs, excluding heads up SNGs. Should make for some interesting blogging.

If you'd like to learn more about the SNG challenge, contact your local library, leave a comment or email at brodybanky@aol.com. Leave off the last S for Smack Talk.

posted by Jordan @ 9:10 AM, , links to this post




SNG Preview

Hi Readers. If this blog is about anything, its about building a community. That's pure bullshit. Its about poker. But one of the joys of having a blog is the natural community that forms. Hence, the SNG challenge will feature players from all walks of life putting their honor and money on the line to be crowned the Next SNG Champion.

The players so far include (check the links on the right for their blogs):

Jordan from High on Poker: Yours truly. A poker enthusiast with a penchant for overdoing his poker fixation. A player with the perfect mix of addictive personality and anal retentiveness. I play lots of poker for little money. How truly sad.

DNasty: The originator of the current limit challenge (full credit goes to DoubleAs for mentioning such a thing in a previous post). DNasty hails from Detroit, but is making his new home in Tampa, FL. His limit challenge has stalled out, but an impressive MTT win will erase any doubt that he will be a force to be reckonned with in the SNG challenge.

GCox25: GCox, an Oklahoma City russler (I consider anyone west of Pennsylvania a cowboy), was my table-mate at the Dr. Pauly freeroll a couple of months past.. I don't know if "table-mate" is the right term, seeing as he and I were more or less gunning for each other. He's no slouch with tournament play, as I can attest first hand.

Kipper: I only 'met' Kipper recently, and he is still a man of mystery. He's from parts unknown (Erie, PA, I think...cowboy). He might just be the darkhorse in this event.

I'm still hoping for other participants. SteelerJosh, you feeling lucky? Maybe I can even rope Roose or Hole into this.

There are still a few details to work out. I think the entry/prize pool will remain $25 per person. Since I don't know many of you besides from blogs, I'm hoping we can do this in a way that ensures that we are all being honest. I'm thinking the way to go is to (a) all do it on the same site, (b) find a site that allows you to get tournament histories or can get an email of tournament histories or have players take screenshots of the winning screen. Does this make sense? If we can't arrange this, I believe we can all trust each other, but why not just have this fail-safe anyway. In that vain, if we can find a site that allows players to transfer $25 amongst their accounts, that would also facilitate payments at the end of the challenge.

We should all start with $50 in our accounts. So a poker room that we don't already belong to would be ideal, since we can all start with an even $50. You can play any SNG amount you want. If we are all on the same site, this will make the fee the same across the board (i.e., $5+.50 for all of us, instead of some sites which could be $5+1, or whatever). SNG's only, but 6 or 9/10 person is okay. I'd avoid heads up, as that is a whole different animal (maybe Heads Up challenge will be next).

Suggestions and requests to join are more than accepted.

DNasty and I won't be done with the limit challenge until July 10th, a Sunday, so I'd like a week off before the SNG challenge starts. Monday, July 18th to Sunday, August 14th will be a full four weeks, so that will be the tentative start and end date. Stay tuned.

Onto another note. Last night I had no Internet connection. Divine intervention once again stepped in to prevent me from playing poker. I think this is definitely a good thing. I can feel that I am not in the right mindset to play expert poker. That said, I hope it is up and running tonight (along with my cable, which went out this morning). Otherwise, we're going to have a very fiending Jordan. "Just give me one more flop! I'll @#$% your #*() for a flop."

Peace, love and poker to all yall.

posted by Jordan @ 10:47 AM, , links to this post




Longing for Consistency

Limit Challenge Update: After some severe swings, I'm up about $114. My high was $126, and I'm striving to get back there. I want to get to the next level so bad. I don't know if I am making decent progress. I've logged in what would amount to almost (or over) 20 hours of play over the course of a month. $114 for a month's work isn't very good, and $114 for 20 hrs work is nothing to write home about either. But I am having fun while doing it, and (hopefully) I am building something significant with this low-limit grind.

Mother Highness gave some good advice. When the limit challenge is over, I might withdraw my original $50, and know that whatever I am playing with is profit. That $50 will also boost my 2005 winnings, which is back in the black, but below $100. That's a whole other sad thought.

The $30+3 SNG I played was a foolish mistake. I don't know if my then $207 bankroll was enough to risk so much. It was the most full SNG and I thought I'd give it a go. After I lost, due to some less-than-good play, I felt really stupid. Thank god for the limit challenge for keeping me focused.

That brings me to today's discussion. Consistency. I consider myself a decent player. One thing I lack is consistency. I'll go on good runs, and then bad runs. Part of it is luck, but the other part of it is my play. I get too loose, or I play spot on. This is not the way to become a great poker player. I need to work on consistency, like I had in the first few months of the year. I went on a tear, winning 11/12 home games, or something thereabouts. Vegas caused me to dip, but I fought my way back...only to dip again in AC. Maybe the real problem is my casino-play, which is a terrible thought, because that is where the real action is. What's a man to do?

Here is what a man is to do:
1. Stop tilting. I've gotten better at spotting myself on tilt and calling it quits. I still am terrible at doing this in a casino because the action is right there in front of me. Its hard to walk away. In general, though, I need to stop tilting all together. Maybe I'll read some Dahli Lama books to remind myself about acceptance and the pitfalls of negative emotions. I know that I might sound like a tool, but trust me when I say that when I'm reading the works of the DL, I actually think in a calmer way.

2. Realize the reality. There are going to be bad and good runs of cards. But overall, I'm always climbing upward (with the exception of casino play). So, while I may have lost nearly $20 in a no limit challenge session this weekend, I won it back over the course of three sessions over the next 24 hours. I cannot focus on the -$20 without realizing that there was a corresponding +$20.

3. Address the casino issue. Maybe some of you might offer me some advice here. Clearly, I do not play my best in a casino environment. I guess I am a little intimidated. Plus, I am used to (and prefer) short-handed tables, like the 6-person online tables or the 6 to 8 person homegame tables. Perhaps I can focus on tournaments in AC, but they seem few and far between, when you are on a budget and can't enter a $100 rebuy.

That's really all I can think of right now. To anyone out there who is interested in an SNG challenge, including DNasty, let me know. My current limit challenge is over on July 10th. Stay tuned for the results. DNasty suggested an SNG challenge earlier, and I think it would make for an interesting experiment. My suggestion is to start with x dollars, maybe $50, and then allow the members of the challenge to play whatever SNGs they want. If you go bust, you are out. Otherwise, the person with the most $ at the end of a month wins. $25 wager. It would have to be on the honor system, but then again, I think it would be easier to show proof of an SNG win, than proof of a limit challenge win, which can be as little as .50 after 2 minutes of play.

Think about it.

Pokerific!

posted by Jordan @ 1:22 PM, , links to this post




Hit and Run Progress, and a SNG Pitfall

I've moved up to +125 or so. I had some quick hit and run sessions, one of which was 5 min, and another was 7. Finally, I sat down for a 'long' 30 min session. Up, down, and then way up.

In my 30 min session, I started with KK holding up. Next, I played 3c4c. The flop was 2c5cQs. Bet. Turn is 6c. Straight flush again? Who are we kidding. Naturally, I take down the hand. Next, my Th6h hits mid-pair flush draw, and hits the flush on the turn. I can't lose. Well, actually, I did, but then the luck came back. Feels good.

I played in a 10 person table. I'm used to the 6 person, so it was an intersting change. The only notable hand was when my Ac7c hit a 477 flop. Some schmo with J4 stayed in the whole way. If I used the term 'fish' now would be the time. But I don't because I'm stubborn like that.

So, after all of this, I wanted to change things up and write. While I write, I've entered a 6 person SNG for...$30! Here is the play by play.

$30 SNG, 6 Person

10/20: Overplay an AJ from SB, and down to 925 (from 1000). KQ from button, hits Q high flop. But a player held an open straight draw and hits on the turn. I can't get away from my high pair, and I'm down to 510. I should've known better. Take down the blinds post-flop with 28 when the flop is 2A7. I bet the minimum and its enough to scare away players. Limp with JK on the button. AK6 board, and SB and BB check to me. One caller. 6 turn. Called. J river, but I check, and he has 36. UG! AK...limp. JQ8. Call a minimum raise, and hit the T. By the river, I am all in. He has A9? I have 720. I'm still the shortstack though. Gave up some chips on a stupid move, which actually ended with me being sucked out on the river. I called a min raise from BB with 36, hit a 6, and call some more min raises, until he hits a 9 on river with A9. I knew he had nothing. I should've raised at him sooner.

20/40: 440 in chips. All in on button. Called by 66, but flop a set and take it down! 940 in chips! 4/6. I player is out when his TT runs into KK. 5x3c. Three clubs on the flop. Long story short, I bluff him out (I think) when another club hits the river. 84o in BB. 4A6 flop. I bet, and two players fold for another small pot. This is what they are talking about when they say you don't need good cards to make money. 1320, 2/5. AT in BB. Button raises 2x blind. SB calls. I call. A25 flop. I check. Button minimum raises. I call. K. Two flush draws. 4c, no flush. I check. He bets low. He takes the pot with 25o. At least I didn't volunteer any money. 960. 3/5.

50/100: Hammer in BB. SB is the only other one in. Raise, he calls. Then he goes all in on a shitty flop. I fold. 510. 5/5. Someone else is out when JJ runs into QQ. Four way, and I'm a major shortstack. I fold the BB with 59 with a better and caller. I wouldnt have hit the flop, so it was a good move...I guess. All in in the SB no matter what...and I get Q4o. Against JT and the J comes. LEMON!

I didn't play my best game. I think the play by play may've hurt. At least I can rest easy knowing that my limit challenge is doing well. Back to grinding.

posted by Jordan @ 8:41 PM, , links to this post




Newness

Hey! I've added a new feature to this site. Check the side bar to see links to my previous "You Decide" posts. This way, you and your friends will have instantaneous access to my trials and tribulations. If you haven't seen some of the earlier posts, check them out. You can post your comment and it'll be sent to me via email. If its particularly insightful, I'll direct readers to take a look.

I am thinking about adding a section of favorite posts, but that will come in due time.

Complaint of the day. Yesterday I raised pre-flop with 99. The flop didn't help so I checked it around. The turn was a 9! Only one problem. I was two-tabling on Noble and for whatever reason, the table with the 99s didn't prompt me in time. When I got to the table, I had auto-folded, without anyone even betting. I checked the hand history and discovered that I hit trips. Dagnabit. My fault I suppose.

Complaint #2. I was hoping for the high hand bonus after hitting my straight flush to the Q yesterday. So far, I haven't heard anything. I could use that $33. Cross your fingers for me.

Complaint #3. Why is work at 5PM on Friday during the summer so damn difficult.

I'm planning on hosting another game next Wednesday. I like arranging games around fiance Kim's schedule. If she's out, game's on. I guess this is a bit 'whipped', but the way I see it, I don't have anyone bothering me while I play. Not that fiance Kim is a bother. Its just, when the cards are dealt, there can only be 4 queens in play.

I think that's it. I have a busy weekend, but if you've been reading, you know that won't stop me from playing.

Poker to you!

posted by Jordan @ 4:43 PM, , links to this post




Putting the Challenge in Limit Challenge and You Decide #11

SteelerJosh started the limit challenge before DNasty and my current competition. He had this to say in his most recent post:

As DNasty and HighOnPoker draw near the end if their challenge, my money is on Jordan. He seems to be playing more than D and I can see the same feelings in his posts that where in mine before I hit the 1/2 brick wall. I hope his experience is different, but if it is similar, D might have a chance still.

Geez, Steeler. I appreciate the confidence, but your prophecy is scaring me. Especially since I took a $20 dive last night. I was playing fine at first, but then I felt the tilt start. In one hand, I hit top pair, As, which I knew was good for a bet pre-flop, on the flop, and on the turn. When I bet the river (a 5, which paired the board), another player re-raised me...and I called. Of course he had the 5, for trips. Loose players can get you in the end. But, I could've and should've saved $1 by folding. I knew he had it. Damn me. This was nothing new either. I must've called a losing re-raise at least two other times.

I think the problem was my inability to adjust. Two days ago, I was playing at mostly tight tables, mixed with a couple of maniacs. So, if I had paired the board with 2s, I raised. The tight players folded, and the maniac stayed in with K high. As a result, I got paid off.

Last night, the tables were looser. As a result, if I hit mid-pair and bet, players were staying in and hitting thier inside straight draw. I couldn't find a strategy around this. When I checked the flop and bet the turn (hurting their pot odds, as the turn bet is higher), they got a free card which often helped them. I still don't know how I can combat this in the future except to only play premium hands. I even misplayed those.

Here is a two-parter You Decide. Let me know what you think. It is a fair example of my play last night.

You Decide #11-A
I was in the SB with JJ. All players folded to me. I called. The BB checked.

The flop was Td5x4d. I bet. He called.

The turn was a 8x. I bet. He raised. I called.

The river was a blank. I checked. He bet. I raised. He called. Then he took my money with T5o.

My mistake? Or was it a sound strategy that went awry?

You Decide #11-B

I just sat at a 5-person table, so I posted the .50 blind. I was UTG+1. UTG folded. I had Qc9c. With only three players behind me, I raised to $1. Button called, SB folded, and BB called.

The flop was 8c10c3c. I hit the flush. BB checked. I bet. Button called. BB called.

Turn was 2d. BB checked, I bet, Button called, BB called.

River was Jc. Do you see it? Straight flush, for the 2nd time on Noble. BB checked. I checked. Button checked.

I clearly missed a bet on the end there. Was I wrong to try for the check-raise? Let me know what you think.

posted by Jordan @ 9:40 AM, , links to this post




Holy Post

I recieved an email from Robbie Hole today that, well, speaks for itself. Check it out:

"......So i was going to drop off my brothers [Jefferson Hole, mentioned in a previous post about Hole's last home game] i pod at his friends and he calls me a couple hours before and want to get a poker game together of cause is say sure and ask how many people. And he is not sure but i let him know i am in. So of course the addict i am cant wait to go drop off my brothers i pod. I leave joys house in a rush i get there and its just my bro and his friend there it seems that every one is has dropped out so we play pool till one guy finally shows......he seems to be the poker player of the group. So since we have four we play some cards.........we play a small tourney five to play 20 to the winner. First of all i was playing with with a bunch of beginnerss.....thats for sure. To start off by saying they weren't even going to play blinds if it wasnt for me... and i convinced them that when a 10 dollar bet is made that the least the next can raise is 10 or more .....not less. so any way to make a short story long......I really felt like i knew what i was doing and sat back one one pot and let my man to my left take out Jeff and Evan and i was way short stacked at the heads up game ......the blinds were up to 8 to play and i had 56 ....he had like 1000.... i came back after three all ins and i was in the lead which forced him all in and i had pocket nines for the clincher and won the tourney i know that there was only four guys but i knew that i was going to win from the beginning. The real funny thing that i was fighting with my brother after the game was over cause he said that this was all luck and i just laughed so hard........cause if all other games are luck this game we just played was total skill..........."

HAHAHAHAHA! I'll tell you what I loved about Hole's story. His brother, a newbie to the game, has not reached that level where he understands the wholeness of it all. Luck is a factor, without a doubt. But skill is crucial to the game. Otherwise, (pardon the cliche) you wouldn't see the same players at the WSOP or WPT final tables. To a newbie, the game is all luck because luck is a newbie's best weapon. When a newbie is willing to limp in with J8 out of position and the flop has two 8s in it, the newbie thinks, "Hey, I'm lucky!" When a skilled player is playing against the newbie and calls a minimal bet because of pot-odds, and then hits the flush or straight, the newbie thinks, "Hey, he won because he's lucky." Take Hole's final hand, for instance. Hole got lucky by having two 9s. But he put himself in a position to get lucky by taking the chiplead with (I'm assuming) his usual expert play.

I love newbies. They keep it real! Real easy! KACHING!

Congrats, Hole. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Get. Me. Into. That. Game. You and I will clean up!

posted by Jordan @ 3:23 PM, , links to this post




Running

A month ago, I received a mass office email about a Corporate Challenge charity 3.5 mile run. Of course, I ignored it...until I got a phone call from a co-worker down the hall with whom I did not have much of a relationship. I was surprised when he asked me why I wasn't participating. I thought for a while and said, I hadn't thought about it yet. I had just received the email. After a little bit of deliberating, I decided to sign up. I honestly don't think I can run 3.5 miles at a respectable time. In fact, since I've scoured the firm for other runners, it looks like I'll be walking with a crew (one of which will go drinking with me before race time). But I can't help thinking, why the hell am I doing this? I guess its part of being a team player.

Which is why I love poker. No team player there. I'm there to crush the competition. The two players who I consider the closest things to teammates are Dave Roose and Robbie Hole. But when they were playing at my homegame on Tuesday, I still went for blood when I played against them. That's the joy of poker. As social as I (sometimes) am, I still am a loner at heart. Poker allows me to be that loner in a table full of company.

Limit Challenge Update:
I can do no wrong lately. I played for maybe 60 minutes yesterday, at the most. I won $20 playing .50/1, for a 20BB/hour rate. Not too shabby. I've been hitting cards, but I've also been playing well. My aggressive 'strategy' is paying off. I consider it a 'strategy' in quotes because it is not something planned, but rather something that I've been getting into naturally. At a six-person table, I realize that most of the time, players are not hitting their cards. Or they are hitting bottom pair, or a low mid-pair. Against timid players, I still fold often when I have nothing post-flop. But when I'm in position and they check before me, I bet with an Ace high, inside straight draws, or even Q high. Other players are such calling stations its almost comedic. In one hand yesterday, I limp in LP with A2. SB and BB call. The flop is 28T. I raise, knowing that SB is tighter than a pair of H&M jeans. He folds like clockwork. But the BB, who has been a calling station, calls. No surprise there, but he couldn't be calling without any pairs. After all, I've been hitting pairs and making money off of him all night. The turn was a blank. Its checked to me, and I slow down a bit. I check. The river is another blank. Its checked to me and I raise. He calls...and I win with the 2s! I mean, how bad can he be? (Looking back, this isn't the best example of my prowess, as I should've bet the turn, but it illustrates my point that I can do no wrong, even when raising with 2s).

So, I'm at +121, just $34 from moving to 1/2. I hope the players are atrocious there also. Oddly, I've found the .50/1 worse than the .25/.50. It may be because there are more players at the .50/1 level, which means more opportunities to get a crappy player at my table (I refuse to use the term 'fish', for personal reasons). Regardless, my $50 is growing exponentially. Its a new feeling for me, as I've written earlier posts about how the online poker whoops my ass. I realize it was because I was playing too high stakes for my bankroll, and I was playing NL ring games a lot more. I guess limit is my new bread and butter. I might throw in some SNGs or MTTs to keep things fresh though. Regardless, I can't complain about making money. If you want to read about my past online poker complaints, check it out HERE. It may give you some perspective on where I'm coming from.

Love that Poker! (Props to anyone who knows what movie line I am referencing.)

posted by Jordan @ 11:10 AM, , links to this post




Success at 8C

My poker game last night went off as a success. The only problem was that money was missing from the pot at the end of the night. As the host, I blame myself. I may have dished out too many chips or I may have let someone cash themseleves out. In the end, Dre was nice enough to cover $10 of the missing dough. He was the BIG winner of the night, but it was still a fine thing to do.

The game went exceptionally well for me. I honed in my desire to bluff too often. The table was as follows: Me (Seat 1), Dave Roose (2), Robbie Hole (3), Mikey Aps (4), Hafele (5), Leano (6), Desi (7) and Dreson (8). As my table only seats 8, we had a full table, which is great considering the fact that I had to cancel my last 2 or 3 attempts to hold a game because of low turnout.

At the end of the night, there were only two winners, Dreson (who won over $150), and me (up $67). I would've been up more, but toward the end of the night, Dreson with his huge stack, me and Aps were the only players left, and I went on tilt. I actually was the player to call it quits for the night, which is rare for me in my own house. However, I was not giving up my hard earned money when everyone clearly knew I was on tilt.

A couple of notable events of the night: I was hitting cards a lot when I limped with K9 or J8. I was making great reads, and putting players on tough decisions. For that, I am proud. I didn't get a single pocket pair above 5s, except for one hand in which I had 99. I may have gone all-in once, if that.

Roose was giving me crap about my blog, as per usual. I tried to quietly tell him to shut up, as I don't advertise my blog to everyone I know. Its really only for a select few because (a) I don't want everyone to know my strategy, and (b) I want to talk honestly about people without offending them. By the end of the night, everyone was giving me crap, but I just laughed it off. This one is for Hafe:

"Dear Blog: Last night, I had the guys over to play cards. Someone raised it to $2 with a low pocket pair, and Hafele raised it to $7. All others folded. Hafe had AT. What the hell was he thinking! PS- Barry Greenstein is dreamy."

Haha. Anyway, on that hand, I was particularly proud. I had 35o in the BB. Someone raised in MP, Hafe re-raised. When I folded, immediately after the MP folded, I said to Hafe, "go ahead, show your cards, you ain't got nothing." He looked at me incredulously, and defensively said, "You don't show your cards." I replied, "I just showed my KT" (which was a bluff against loose player Hole, of all people). He couldn't argue with that, and showed his AT. Hafe then said, "Now go write about it in your blog!" which I did.

Another problem with the blog. I played two or three big hands against Hole, who is a semi-steady reader. He read my Ebb and Flow post, which has a lot of my strategy in it. Because of that, he had a theory as to what I was doing. He was close, but he had it backwards. In an early hand, (which I mentioned above) I had KT on the button and I think there was a pre-flop raise to $2.50. It was just Hole and I. The flop was QJ7. I raised it to $5. He called. The next card was a blank. I raised it $10. He thought for a while and folded. I showed my bluff and he told me he had the 7s.
In a later hand, I had K7 and the flop was KK8. It was just Rob and I, and I was the button. He checked, I checked. The next card was a T. He raised $3. I called. The next was a blank. He checked. I raised $3. He thought for a while and called, theorizing that I was bluffing. When he saw my cards, he mumbled about the ebb and flow.

He wasn't entirely off that night. On one hand, I bet maybe $10-15 on the river, with just him and I. He stated aloud that I bet so big because I wanted him to think I was betting the pot. He was right, and correctly folded. Kudos to him on that one.

There were some wild hands, including one in which my two-pair swept about $30 to wipe out Desi. Overall, the players enjoyed themselves, and many were asking to play again in a week. I think I'll wait 2 weeks, but who knows. I love my poker!

After playing, it was still early and I contemplated playing a little of the limit challenge. But, I was still a little on tilt, AND I kind of felt sick of playing poker. That brings me to this general theory: You can never get enough of the things you WANT, but at some point you are satiated with the things you NEED. For instance, we can all use more money to an unlimited extent. But you can only eat so much food. The former is a want, the latter a need. This theory and my post-Vegas, post-AC, post-homegame anti-poker feelings would lead me to believe that poker is a Need and not a mere Want. How very sad.

That's all folks. Thanks for reading my scatterbrained thoughts.

posted by Jordan @ 12:42 PM, , links to this post




Odd Stuff

If the Mystery of the Missing Rake (see the previous post for my Sistine Chapel of blog entries) wasn't weird enough, I checked StatCounter the company/service that tracks my hits, and on Monday, I received about 145 new users from a bunch of other blogs that are entirely not poker related and do not appear to be linked to me. More mysteries.

One thing that is not a mystery: I am great! I didn't mention it in the Hardy Boys post (again, read the last post), but last night I played the .50/1 limit tables and whooped some serious ass. I'm at +$99.97 or so. With another night like this, I will hit the +165 needed to move up to 1/2. I can't wait. Part of me is insanely happy, because if this continues, I could grind my $50 into $500 or more. Whoa! My calendar says that I am down $30 for the year, which is a sad sight. But I don't count online winnings until I've cashed out, so mentally I realize that I am actuall ahead.

On a related note...8C-Duecy Poker has re-opened. 8C-Duecy is my home game, because my apartment is 8C. Get it! Roose, Hole, Leano, Desi, Neo and myself, as well as a possible cameo from Mikey "Duesche Boyd" Aps and future-bro-in-law Marc should make for a good table. I'd like to play a tourney, but I'm going with the flow. The anticipation is wonderful.

Keep on reading, and I'll keep posting. Here's looking at you, Poker.

posted by Jordan @ 1:48 PM, , links to this post




The Mystery of the Missing Rake

Today, I will be reviewing the Hardy Boys book, "The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Missing Rake." At first, I expected a book about the Hardy Boys' misadventures while searching for Old Farmer Joe's rake that went missing on his duck farm. But I was happily surprised to find that the Hardy Boys were actually trying to figure out a very different mystery. Here is an excerpt:

"Frank Hardy typed away on his laptop. His eyes were transfixed on the glowing screen when his brother, Joe, came over. 'Frank,' Joe said, 'you've been playing that Noble Poker for hours!'

"'I know," replied Frank, "but its not what you think, Joe. I'm searching for clues.' Frank raised with his A8 suited, knowing full well that the player across the virtual table would call. The players on Noble always call.

"Joe had a quizzical look on his face. 'Clues?,' asked Joe, 'Clues for what?'

"'The rake, of course.' Frank had a look of concentration on his face, as he tried to tune out Joe's whiny voice. Frank's ipod was in the car. He'd have to answer his brother's questions. As Joe scanned the screen and settled upon the pot, his face lit up. 'The rake! Noble isn't taking a rake!," the shocked Joe cried out.

"Frank looked over with a look of exasperation mixed with understanding. 'I know,' said Frank, 'It's been like this for days. My crown points aren't accumulating, so I'm not earning my bonus. That was my first hint. Then when I emailed old Mr. Crowley at the corner Noble Poker shoppe, he told me that my crown points weren't accumulating because my stakes were too low and were not earning a rake.'

"'That doesn't make sense.' Joe was indignant. 'I was playing just a week ago at the same limits and they were taking a rake.'

"'I know,' Frank clicked fold. 29o was not his idea of playable hand. 'When I realized that they weren't raking, I didn't complain though. I'd rather not earn a bonus at this rate.'

"'Frank,' Joe had a look in his eyes that showed he really needed to talk seriously, "I think you should get some help. I've contacted Gam Anon, you know Gambler's Anonymous. I think maybe you should speak to someone.'

"Frank stood up. He finally realized that he had a problem. And that problem was his brother. Two swift blows to Joe's head with the keyboard, and Joe was finally quiet. Frank took out the boys' sleeping bags and quickly went about wrapping up Joe's lifeless corpse. 'If I get this done in under an hour, I can still play that freeroll,' Frank thought as he sopped up the bloody brain pieces."


There you have it. I give the book one thumb up. I'd give it two, but that would involve taking my right hand off of the mouse...and I don't do that for no one.

posted by Jordan @ 8:58 AM, , links to this post




Ebb and Flow Poker and You Decide #10

Congratulations to me! After reaching about +$61 in the limit challenge, I moved from the piddling .25/.50 to the .50/1 game last night at about 11:55pm. Even though there are much more tables, the tables with players were all full. So, I put myself on every wait list, and entered an empty room hoping for the action to come to me. Shortly after, a player sat down with about $5. Here is Joe Schmo with his $5 at .50/1, a stack that is way too small considering the blinds. I consider 10x the small+big blinds to be short stacked. In .50/1, that means $15 is shortstacked. This guy wanted to mess with the bull, packing my full $140 or so? Puh-lease. It could have gone badly, admittedly, but I played what I like to call my "Ebb and Flow" game. It was amazingly successful.

The Ebb and Flow is like the tide. You control the game by alternatively playing weak then strong, like the tide coming in and out at the beach. Mostly, its intuitive, but I've gotten it down to a loose art.

The Ebb and Flow is simple, really. First, it usually only works heads up, and it seems to work extra well in limit. Usually, I'll hit a string of bad cards. 29o, 38o, J2o, etc. Or I'll have limp-able cards heads like 97s, JTo, Q9o, etc. If its a limp-able card, I'll limp in the SB, but automatically fold if I miss the flop. If its an unplayable hand, I'll fold in the SB, something I usually abhor heads-up. In this way, I really just play a tight game. I almost hope to hit a string like this, because thats the ebb of the Ebb and Flow. My opponent will probably feel pretty good. He's won a majority of hands, and he thinks I'm a doormat. And then the flow starts.

I'll switch play once the mood and the cards are right. I don't need much in the way of cards, but once I get those hole cards, I'll limp, followed by a raise on the flop. I can't really explain it well, but often, I'll get my guy to bet only to fold on the turn. Then I switch to fast and hard. The player usually thinks that I can still be run over. Often, they'll pay off my pre-flop bet and fold either on the flop or turn. Their memory tells them that they are safe; after all, they've been playing against a doormat and they've already won a bunch of hands. But the hands they won for me were all SBs or BBs. I get them to pay me 2 BB preflop, or even 3 with the flop. The result is a net gain on my behalf.

When I see that 29o again, I might slow down, and hence return to the ebb. Or I might stretch the flow for a bit. Regardless, I'll eventually return to the ebb, if only for a few hands. The ebb or flow usually lasts as little as 3 and as many as 8-10 hands in a row. The key is to play fast the entire time. The other player doesn't have time to really think things through. Meanwhile, you are switching it up as needed.

Now, this won't always work. But sometimes the planets align and you can make some magic happen. Of course, my explanation is oversimplified too. When its all said and done, its an organic process.

Quick Limit Challenge Update. Its hours since I started this post. I've played some of the limit challenge and lost a quick $10 at one table. I immediately got back on and won it back. Which leads me to the return of You Decide!

You Decide #10
I haven't been doing much You Decides because I find that limit is a bit stinted in choices. But here goes.

I am the BB with 9T suited spades. The table is four-seated. UTG raised, UTG+1 re-raised. SB, me and UTG called.

The flop was Jc8sXc. I had an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. I bet. UTG called. UTG+1 reraised. SB folded. I called, UTG called.

The next card was Ks. I hit the flush. I checked. UTG checked. UTG+1 bet. I raised. UTG called. UTG+1 called.

The river was an blank. I check raised again, as the other guy only had $1.50. I took it down with a flush, to his KJo.

So, should I have check-raised at these low limits. Would a raise have been just as effective? I don't know. You tell me.

Thanks for reading people. DNasty is in trouble, considering my big success so far. I'm up a whopping $90 as we speak...er, as I type. Love that Poker!

posted by Jordan @ 6:03 PM, , links to this post




The Cut

You know, I spend so much time making myself pretty and they end up cutting all of my lines in the Style Network's The Look for Less. Tonight, an episode of the obscure makeover show starring my brother's fiance aired. During the filming, I was interviewed, but alas, they cut all of my lines. I did, however, get some fine air time in the background at the reveal. And fiance Kim looked great on her TV debut. So I guess all is not lost.

Speaking of not losing, I did just that. After an hour and a half of .25/.50 limit, in pursuit of the next level of the limit challenge, I won $2.30...and then I wondered why I wasted so much time for $2.30. For poker baby! I could play for pennies and still be happy as a pig in excriment. Damn I want to play higher stakes though...patience. patience.

For any newer readers, let me explain the limit challenge. Fellow blogger DNasty found a posting on Double A's blog which laid out a format for playing limit hold'em. Start with a set amount of money. It sounded like an interesting idea, but to make in the interest of the sport, DNasty and I entered into a battle of poker stamina. We would play the limit challenge against each other. The game will last 6 months, until Sunday, July 10th. The player with the most money at the end gets $25. The challenge's structure is as follows: With $50 each, we play .25/.50 limit ONLY. Once the bankroll reaches $110, we can move up to the .50/1 tables. Then when the bankroll reaches $215, we move to 1/2; $370 to 2/4 and so on. There are also drop-back levels. For instance, if I'm at .50/1 and drop to less than $100, I'm put back at .25/.50.

Okay, so I am maybe less than $5 away from moving to .50/1, and I can't wait. Noble only has one .25/.50 table and its 6-handed, so it should be interesting two-tabling again and playing at full tables. I'd be smart to stick to single-tabling shorthanded games, but we'll see. It feels good to me making progress. If I can actually grind this $50 into $500, I'd be amazed. I play small stakes, so I would have no problem grinding this out over months. I've got to admit though, there is always that itch...

Take Care of Yourself, and Your Poker.

posted by Jordan @ 10:37 PM, , links to this post




Onward and Upward

Progress is a fine thing. I just finished playing an hour of the limit challenge, and I ran roughshod over a table. In the end, I was up just short of $20 for the hour, and that places my grand total limit challenge at +57. I thought that would be enough to move up to .50/1, but upon a review of the rules, I realize that I am 3$ short. Not to worry. I can earn those 3 in no time. At this point, it isn't even about winning the challenge against DNasty (although its a nice addition). Its all about building my bankroll responsibly. The limit challenge has allowed me to pace my play, and keep my limits at a good amount compared to my bankroll. This has been one of my weak points in the past, so I cannot complain. Beyond that, the challenge has really help my poker confidence.

Moving on, check out Iggy's blog. Iggy was kind enough to mention my humble blog, and ever since I've had another spike in hits. I can't thank him enough.

Finally, is it just me or is the Poker Royale series on GSN some of the worst poker programming around. Its nothing specific. It just seems cheap and desperate. Its like they are trying to appeal to complete morons. There's just too much poker on tv for me to waste my time on their gimmicky crap.

Whew! Bed time. Thanks for reading. I'll keep pokering and posting.

posted by Jordan @ 12:39 AM, , links to this post




A Day at the Poker Zoo

As you may be aware, I went to Atlantic City recently with Roose and Hole, where I played in a NLHE tournament. After losing, I joined Hole and Roose at their NLHE ring game. The table was full and I had lost more than enough money for the day, so I took a stroll around Taj Mahal's large poker room to see what was happening. While walking around, I noticed that certain types of players played certain types of games. I'm sure this is no surprise to some of the more experienced casino players. However, I had never noticed it so blatantly. Here is what I found:

Limit Hold'em: Limit Hold'em, especially at the lower limits, was really the mixing bowl in the room. There was a good variety of players, from pensioners to Indian kids, to redneck trash. However, I noticed that the middle-aged group was definitely more prevalent here than in some of the other tables. That said, limit still remained the grabbag of poker games. In the end, this makes sense. Its a game that is easy to understand, and the exposure is limited. Maybe that's why the middle-aged crowd, who are more responsible and risk-adverse, tended to play at the limit tables.

No Limit Hold'em: Its no surprise that the NLHE tables were stacked with young guys. I mean, at Roose and Hole's table, there were maybe 8 guys under 30, and maybe 6 of those were 25 and under. There were two older guys, but these weren't geezers either. Old at this table was 40. This must be because of the television poker explosion. The newer players, which is heavily tilted to young, vice-loving "kids", have learned about the game from NLHE tournaments on ESPN and the like. Its what they know. Its where the glamour is at. And for these younger players, losing money is not a concern. These are the thrill seekers.

Stud: If you want to play stud, first check three things, (1) you have your prescriptions handy, (2) your pacemaker batteries are fresh, and (3) your colostomy bag is prepped for a long night, because stud was the game of choice amongst the geriatrics. You should've seen this group. There was one 30 or younger guy, and one 50 or younger, but the rest of the players were 70 and up. Way up. One guy was reminiscing of the good ole days, before the "speakies" ruined the movies, and Wilson was still in the White House. I imagine it all comes down to when these players started playing. NLHE is on a surge. But it wasn't always to game to play. In fact, the game was few and far between when players like Doyle Brunson were starting out. Stud was the game of choice, and in my humble and logical estimation, players stick to the games they know best.

Omaha: At the Omaha tables, it wasn't as easy to spot the player type, unless you were close enough to hear them talk. The older white guy said, "Bet," in a Irish brogue. The young Indian kid called, with a short pashtung-accented voice. Ah, its the foreigners! Omaha is the game of choice in England (and possibly all of Europe). I would not be surprised if Hold'em is taking over in Europe. America's greatest export is out culture! But people still stick to the game they know best, and for Americans, it usually isn't Omaha. So, instead, the Omaha table is stacked with a virtual UN of poker players.

There you have it. Agree or disagree, this is what I saw with my own two eyes. Of course there are exceptions. I saw them too. But generally, the tables all fit the profiles mentioned. Go figure. Maybe on a future trip, I can compare Stud v. Stud hi/lo and Omaha v. Omaha hi/lo. Until that day, I'll keep on poking.

posted by Jordan @ 1:30 PM, , links to this post




Dreaming Poker

I had a dream last night. I can only remember bits and pieces, but I remember that I was sitting at a table in a non-descript room with a bunch of friends. An old Asian man sat down next to me with a stack of chips. I look around and realize that the table we are sitting at is turning into a poker game. I ask what they are going to play, and I expect them to say $2/4 limit, but instead I am told by the dealer (who is in the process of sitting down) that the game is 7-card stud. The table and players were still settling down. I recall one or two old ladies and an old man at the table too. The rest of the players were non-descript. I remember some cards being dealt around the table, 2 down, 1 up, but in my head it was almostI got up and headed over to the cage to get chips. I remember seeing Roose by the cage and we had a short conversation. He was already up a bit. I never got to the cage, as there was a lot of people traffic and it was almost as though some force was keeping me from it. I think I also realized that I had no cash, so I took a walk to my hotel room. Oddly, I did not have to go outside at all to get to my hotel room, and it was not like my dream took place in a hotel/casino. It was more of a large catering room. It felt like my hotel room was in a totally separate building. However, "outside" was really just a wide hallway, with almost a hangar-like roof (albeit low). I guess it was sort of like the exposed steel rafter roofs they have in skating rinks. Anyway, long story short (I know...too late) I was unable to play. There were just too many obstacles.

So, there you have it. My dream about poker. I've had other poker dreams before, in which I just went over hands. As Roose would say, this puts me from High to Extreme on the sliding scale of poker addiction.

Had a good night drinking yesterday at the John Street Bar & Grill with one of my old college buddies and some of the younger guys in my old fraternity. Won a game of darts (catepillar) even though I was way rusty (and drunk). Gotta love $10 all you can drink deals. They are rare in NYC.

The limit challenge made a -.50 move last night due to some half-ass, half-drunk plays. I was multi-tabling with a 6 person $5 NLHE tournament, in which I took first place. So, even though I lost a minor .50 in the limit challenge, outside of the limit challenge, I took a quick $15.50 uptick. Can't complain one bit.

I've got a great idea for a posting, which will be put up later today or tomorrow. As a preview, the concept is this: a case study of the tables at the Taj Mahal, with a focus on the types of players for each game (Limit Hold'Em, NL Hold'Em, Stud, and Omaha). Stay tuned...

posted by Jordan @ 8:30 AM, , links to this post




Television Debut

Just a quick post. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Last night I played the limit challenge for 15 minutes and won about $4. I'm up $42 so far in the limit challenge. Scared yet, DNasty?

Against my better judgments, I'm announcing my national cable debut. I'll be making a cameo (or more, depending on editing) on Style Network's The Look for Less on this Sunday, Father's Day, at 8pm. Check your local listing for blah blah blah.

Before you start laughing at me, I'm not the subject of the episode. Rather, my brother's fiance put in an application because they were looking to do an episode in NY regarding a newly engaged couple. I'm at the 'reveal' and I also say some words about how they met, living with them, and her look (which was a tricky thing to do, as I had to play into their 'reality show' storyline).

In case you didn't know, I live in a sitcom situation. I used to live with brother Keith in NYC, until I decided to move in with fiance/then-girlfriend Kim, and he decided to move in with his fiance/then-girlfriend Jen. Once we realized that rent is insane, we found a beautiful and well priced 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment, that we are splitting four ways. Its the Odd Couples, as they are partiers, and Kim and I are a little more home-bodies. Why am I mentioning this in a poker blog, you ask? I don't know!

Enjoy, people. I'm going to go back to work, and daydreaming about poker...

posted by Jordan @ 1:04 PM, , links to this post




In, Out, No Regrets

I played a last-minute game at Hole's house last night after my plans for the evening fell through. Poker at Hole's was like good sex: in, out, and no regrets. For the night, I won $49 and a much needed confidence boost. The game was short-handed, which is my personal preference. At the maximum, we had six players. The table was arranged thusly:

Seat 1: Robbie Hole, an aggressive player that is willing to call down bets with Q9 high when he thinks you are bluffing. He's the Captain Planet of poker because of his one-man anti-littering campaign.
Seat 2: Randle Cunningham, a player who will play any cards and has the will to keep firing bets. Randy is the king of action. He's put me on tilt on more than one occassion by setting me up with a bluff that got lucky and finishing me off a short while later with agressive play and a legitimate hand.
Seat 3: David Roose, my pick for Most Improved Player of the Year and the dark horse of poker. Roose has the uncanny ability to always seem to be losing, even when he is taking everybody's money. He was the big winner of the night, and called my hand exactly on two occassions.
Seat 4: Jefferson Hole, younger brother of Robbie Hole, and newbie to our brand of 'anal poker', aka casino rules poker. Jefferson has potential, and I hope he learned a lot playing from us sharks. I think he plays in a much looser, friendlier game, one in which I must infiltrate and suck dry!
Seat 5: Ilan, who showed up late, and proceeded to catch nothing on the board. Overall though, he ended up $10, which is not bad considering his early luck.
Seat 6: Me, Jordan from High On Poker, his Highness himself, the Paragon of Poker, the Sultan of the Steal, Weilder of Hammers, and Exaggerator of Self-Grandeur. I played extremely well last night, playing individual players accordingly, and making some key laydowns.

It was the usual structure. $20 buy-in, .25/.50 blinds.

[Note: I can't promise that my recollection of hands is perfect. I don't take notes because I get enough crap from Roose for my blog, even though he secretly loves it. So, Roose and Hole, if you see any errors, please correct them in the comments. While you are at it, feel free to post any memorable hands that I omit.]

QcJc was the hand of the night. I won big with it early on when I flopped a straight draw. I think I was the button. I raised it to $2 pre-flop, hoping to show strength for a late steal. The board was KTT, and Roose and Jefferson were still in the hand. The hand was checked around. The next card was a blank. Someone bet $2 or so. I called because of the amount of chips on the table. The river was an Ace. I hit the straight, and I knew that someone had that Ace. It was raised minimally to me. Maybe it was one or two dollars. I raise it to $6 total, which is a large amount given that we all start with $20 and this was one of the first hands. I think I had one caller, Jefferson. Roose was smart enough to fold. He played smart all night...damn him.

During the game, Roose kept goading me about the hammer (27o). Besides Hole, no one knew what he was talking about, and they didn't seem to care either. When I got the hammer on the button, I didn't have a choice. I had to play it. I raised to $3 pre-flop, after all players limped in. At this point, Ilan had yet to arrive. I had Jefferson on tilt because of some aggressive betting prior to this hand. He was playing loosely, and I had a good read on him. Overall, he has the building blocks of a good player. But he was green. So green that on one hand, he thought his full house lost to Robbie's flush. Anyway, all fold to Jefferson, and Jefferson calls. The flop was a rainbow, high card J. Jefferson checked. I raised $6. I wanted that damn pot. Jefferson thought for a while, and I was nervous as hell. He eventually folded, and I threw down my Hammer, face-up. Hammer Time!! The hammer was revealed. Roose and Hole got a kick out of it, and the other players finally started paying attention to all of this "hammer" talk. I later found out that Jefferson had 4d5d. So, in fact, I was ahead. Go figure.

I got the hammer again on Ilan's first hand. I was UTG+1. Ilan had to post as UTG. I raised pre-flop to $2 or $2.50 total. Everyone folded to Jefferson, the BB. He called. Ilan, who was looking for action, called as well. The flop was another disaster. It was checked to me, and I raised $6. Do you see the problem? I was doing the exact same thing as my last Hammer hand. Jefferson reluctantly folded. Ilan thought it over. All the while, Roose looked across the table at me and was pounding his big fist on the table, as if he had a hammer. I shot looks at him that were supposed to say, SHUT UP!! Apparently, the message he got was, KEEP GOING!! I finally gave in to his looks and shot a wink over at him. I knew at this point that Ilan was too busy looking at his chips or cards to give me a look. Ilan laid it down, and I asked Dave to make the announcement. "Hammer?" was Roose's first words. Then he realized he was dead-on. "HAMMER TIME!" I preceded to do a little MC Hammer dance in my chair, while Ilan grumbled to my right. Sorry Ilan. Just another casualty of the Hammer. Nice job Dave. You really impressed me. It was kind of obvious, but you were the only one taking the time and effort to put 2 and 2 together. Thats the sign of a serious player. Congrats, Roose.

A little while later, I had Ac7c. I was in late position, and raised to $1.50. Robbie Hole called. I think Jefferson did, too. The flop was 8c7h3c. I hit mid pair and a nut-flush draw. I raised $3 or so. Hole called. The next card out was an Ace. I checked. Hole bet $2. I raised it to $7. He folded. After joking around at the table, I said I had Ac7c. Apparently, Roose called my hand. I didn't hear him say it, but Roose wouldn't BS. So, DAMN! That Roose is making strides.

Hole got me back later. I had Q2. He had Q9. Neither of us hit anything, on a board that included an Ace and a bunch of mid or low cards. At the end, I made a $2-4 bet, hoping to steal the pot. He called me. Again, he had me read perfectly. Kudos to him.

I can't remember much else. In one hand, I had KQ. I remained the aggressor throughout. I hit my K on the flop. The turn was a blank. The river was another K and I reraise Roose from his $2 bet to $7 or more. He looked at me and said, you are acting like you have the King. I must pat myself on the back here. I knew that Roose had been playing extremely well. He wasn't just looking at his cards, but was really studying the other players. He also knows that I am a crafty mutha. I wanted to make my King obvious, so that he would think that I was bluffing. He called. I told him he was right, I was acting like I had the K...because I DID have it. Sucka!

There were some other interesting hands, including one in which I raised $10 on top of Hole's $5 when we were heads up. I think he took that hand down, but it must have traumatized me, because I've blacked out the details.

Roose was the big winner of the night, even though he kept on pointing out how big MY stack was, and acting all indignant when I'd point back at his. I didn't lose any devastating hands, and I didn't need to get lucky on any hands either. I made the best of my hands, and laid down the losers, such as one hand in which I had 99 and the board was K776. Roose made a big raise. He could have been bluffing, but I had him on the K. He had K7 and cleaned out Ilan's first buy-in.

Good times! I can't wait for next week's Desi game. I also jusy got $10 free in my Empire Poker account. I have no idea why, but it's great, since I can play outside of the limit challenge without complicated math to keep my limit challenge bankroll separate. I have to get some work done, so I'm out. Enjoy people. Poker away!

posted by Jordan @ 3:09 PM, , links to this post




Everybody Back in the Pool!

Time for some live poker! My plans to drive till my liver hurt got canceled, and suddenly, I'm off to Robbie Hole's place for some live poker action. This will be my first live game since my Atlantic City trip. Hole's home games have often been disasterous, due, in part, to the temptations to abandon sobriety that always seem to accompany Hole and Roose. Also, the players have had a knack at putting me on tilt with loose calls and lucky cards. That won't happen tonight though (famous last words), as my limit challenge has been teaching me about the ups and downs of luck. Thanks limit challenge! Ironically, or not, that was the subject of a recent email I got from Full Tilt, in which the Professor Howard Lederer explained that playing different types of games not only makes you well-rounded; it also helps you master some of the finer points of your preferred game. I'm putting it to the test tonight.

As for the limit challenge, a quick $12 run last night but me at +$37. DNasty is back in black, so we have ourselves a race.

Adios, amigos. Its off to play Poker.

posted by Jordan @ 5:37 PM, , links to this post




Random Thoughts

There was a great article in Rolling Stone about the Crew. Check it out, as it gives some insight into the messed up world of professional poker when you are under 30. Its a real warts-and-all article. Kudos to Rolling Stone and kudos to the Crew for the unflinching look at their background and life.

My limit challenge is moving along. I believe I am up $26, which isn't too shabby. I have to reach +$60 to move from .25/.50. I can't wait, dammit! Thank god for the challenge, as I've recently played two SNGs and lost. At least the limit keeps me paced and in games that I can afford (given swings).

According to Howard Lederer, the average winning hand in poker is two pair! Interesting statistic. The real relevancy is that too many people overvalue top pair. I'm going to keep this in mind in the future. Then again, in the .25/.50 6-person limit table, I don't think you can overvalue any hand. These screwballs will play with anything.

Desi invited me to a home game tomorrow. It looks like his game is drying up, which is a real shame. I made some good money at Desi's. I can't make the game because I have plans to drink $1 beers in NYC. Anyone want to join? As it turns out, I also don't feel like playing live poker. After Vegas in March, it took me a couple of days or weeks to shake off that feeling of poker disgust. I liken it to leaving a buffet after over-eating. Dinner time might roll around, but you just can't seem to get in the mood to eat again. The same thing happened after my recent Atlantic City trip. It took me several days to start up online again, and now it is taking me several more to get up the desire (or the nerve) to play in a live game. It doesn't help that I am in the red for the year, down about $75.

I recently read that Newbie is down $500, which seems like a tough swing by the way he talks about his financial situation. Good luck Newbie. Slow down and work on your game. Patience is a virtue, especially in poker.

GCox25 started a blog. If the name sounds familiar, its because I wrote about him in my write-up of Dr. Pauly's freeroll on Noble Poker. Check out the write-up here. I had a great time playing against him. I was also honored when he mentioned me in his blog along with some blogging heavy-hitters. He even emailed me to ask for some tips as to his new blog. Best tip I can offer is blog daily. I got that one from Pauly. On that note, check out Pauly's coverage of the WSOP.

That's all for today. Pokers Up!

posted by Jordan @ 3:19 PM, , links to this post




Hammer to the Limit

Just a quick entry. First off, I'm currently playing as I type, and my online bankroll is now at $120. That is a $50 profit overall, which is not too shabby. Actually, by now I should have been at a higher profit, but currently, any profit is good. As for the limit challenge, I am up about $22, but I need to be up about 60 before I move up a level. Its eluding me, but at least I am enjoying the trip.

Now its Hammer Time! Thanks to the blogosphere, I have incorporated the hammer, 72o, into my playable hands. However, I generally avoid throwing it in limit games. In no limit, I can often bluff my way to success, even when the hammer does not hit. But in no limit, you have to hit to make the hand profitable, since most of these yahoos won't fold to anything.

Today, I had won a couple of hands in a row when 27o was dealt to me to the right of the button. It was a five handed game, and I decided to try my luck. The UTG folded. I raised pre-flop and the button called. The SB folded. BB called. The flop was K27. BB checked. I bet. Both called. The river was a 2! Full house, with the hammer. BB checked. I bet. They both...folded! They never fold. GODDAMNIT! At least I won the hand. Of course I had to show my cards, and type "HAMMER!" No one got it.

On a final note, I spent the weekend at a bachelor party, wedding rehearsal dinner and wedding. I spent much of the time with fiance Kim's friend's date. He mentioned a business he had in Florida selling lewd t-shirts over the Internet. I checked it out and it is pretty good. They have some funny stuff, so if you are interested in taking a look, please do by CLICKING HERE.. The business is called SLUTTEE.com...get it. Slut Tee. Whatever. I thought it was funny. The guy's name is Adam. If you are interested and put in an order, feel free to mention that Jordan sent you. I get nothing from this. He's a good guy, the business looks good and the shirts are funny, so I just want to help the guy out if I can. On that note, he was considering starting a Poker section. My idea was a chick's baby-tee with the saying He's All In! with an arrow pointing down, or a guy's shirt with I'm All In! with the arrow pointing down. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but its just an idea.

Holla Back! I'm out.

posted by Jordan @ 8:03 PM, , links to this post




Six to Nine

Lately, my blog has been little more than a journal. In the interest of returning to my poker pontificating roots, today we will examine the differences between playing limit poker at a full 9 or 10-person table and a 6-person table. This posting is dedicated to SteelerJosh, whose recent comment got me thinking of this very subject.

I've been playing .25/.50 limit poker on Noble Poker, in an effort to win the Limit Challenge against DNasty. Unfortunately, Noble only has one .25/.50 limit table, and its a six-seater. This is not a problem for me, as I generally prefer short-handed games. In contrast, on my recent Atlantic City trip, I played 2/4 limit with full ten-person tables. Between the two, I much prefer the short-handed games. However, others, including SteelerJosh prefer the full tables . Steeler, if you get a chance, please feel free to post why. To me, it is practically a no-brainer. Six-seaters are the way to go. I suppose different playing styles require different tables. However, I'm still a six-seater kind of guy.

There are definite advantages to the six-seater games.

1. You can play more hands. With less competition at the table, it is less likely that your opponents will have a premium hand. Therefore, hands that could be considered "problem hands", such as QJo, JTo, KTo, etc., can be played more often. If you can't follow the logic, I'll type r e a l l y s l o w.

Some players like to play KTo because they are two high cards. These players are what we call fish. Excuse the over-generalizations. The problem is, when playing KT with 9 other players at the table, someone might have AT or AK or KQ or KJ. This is an even greater problem when you flop a K72, for instance. "Yeah! Top pair," you think. But your bets are being called down, and then you are re-raised on the river. That is because one of the other players has the damn KJ, and you are going to lose! Suddenly, you are stupid for even playing the KT in the first place. On the other hand, if there were only five other players at the table, the chances of them having the K or T is much lower.

Really, you should be more patient at a full table, because the blinds come around slower. You don't have to make moves as much because you can sit there folding for an hour and only give up 6 big blinds and 6 small blinds, assuming 60 hands per hour (closer to live action than online action). On the other hand, if you are playing with 6 players, that 60 hands will cost you 10 big blinds and 10 small blinds for the same hour, if you fold the entire time. Assuming that small and big blinds $1/2 (as in the Atlantic city 2/4 game), that hour will cost you a mere $18 at the full table, and a whole $30 at the 6-seater. Hence the need to make moves at the 6-seater.

Lets do some math. At a 10-person table, if you have JT, the chance of one of the other players have a dominating hand (TT, TQ, TK, TA, JJ, JQ, JK, JA) is about 39.6%. The chance that the player has two overcards (QQ, QK, KK, KA, AA), is 24.2%. In other words, there almost a 65% chance that someone at that table has you beat. If the table is 6-hands, then the chance of the other 5 players have a dominating hand is 22%, and the chance of them having two overcards is 13.5%. Suddenly, there is only a 35% chance that you are dominated or facing two overcards, and your JT just got a whole lot better. (Note: I'm not suggesting you play JTo) (2nd Note: My math is done pretty loosely. I may have missed a .01 here or there. Also, I did not consider when a player has only one overcard, which is also important information.)

My brain hurts. But I'm not done.

2. Its easier to bluff. When a flop comes, its a lot more likely that no one will hit it. Therefore, if you lead out with a bluff, players may be more likely to fold. I say, "may be" because at the micro-limits I play, players will often call with Ace high or an inside straight draw. I'm still a little math dizzy, so I'm not running the numbers. Regardless, clearly, when there are less players, you can bluff more, assuming that you are at the limits at which players will fold.

3. Less suck-outs. When you are holding AA, and there are 9 other players at the table, it isn't absurd for half of them to limp and then call your raise. In the end, you are facing 5 other players who might hit their 2-pair, trips, or other suck-out hand. In 6-seaters, the most you have to worry about is 5 callers. More likely, you'll be in there with 4 or less. Its a minor difference, but a difference nonetheless. On the other hand, you will have less players paying you out when the Aces hold up. That said, I live in a place called Suck Out City, so I want to push players out as soon as possible.

I've gone blank on other reasons why 6-person tables are the way to go. For a player like myself, who likes to play lots of hands and give/get action, its the only way to play. 10-seaters put me to sleep. On the other hand, for a patient grinder, 10-seaters clearly have their benefit.

There you have it. I clearly started the post strong, and then fizzled out. As a quick update, I played on the limit challenge for a good while last night. I was down about $10 or more, but surged after getting AA, followed by JJ, followed by 22 which hit the set on the turn. After that, I had most of the players on the rope, including some good banter putting one player on tilt. I worked on focusing on that particular player, a move that I usually don't do. But I'm learning that focusing on the fish or the tilts is a profitable move, and I intend to try it some more in the very near future. In the end, I was up about $5 or so. I think overall, I'm up $18, but don't hold me to it. Keep reading. I'll keep posting.

posted by Jordan @ 3:42 PM, , links to this post




Free Money

WOOOHOOO!! Last night, I lost some more money on the limit challenge. I was playing kind of loosely, and I wasn't catching anything. I can't fault myself for the loose play as the 6-seater tables practically demand it, especially considering that the table was often not full.

I messed up on one hand in particular. I had Jc9c on the button and limped in. The SB called, and BB raised. I called.

The flop was KcQcx, so I had a second nut flush draw. BB raised and I called. SB called too. The next card was a low club. I hit my flush. SB raised, BB called, and I re-raised. I was aware that the SB may have Ac. He either had the flush or was drawing to the nuts. My fear was confirmed when he re-raised me. BB folded, and I called. The river was the 10c. Now, I can just about bet that the BB has the nut flush, beating my J high flush. He bets. I raise. He re-raises. I call, knowing that I lost. Sure enough, he had Ac6c, but then something odd happened. The chips came to me. What?! I didn't understand at first, until I realized that I rivered a straight flush.

Another player asked me why I didn't re-raise on the end. I admitted that I was two-tabling and didn't realize that I had the straight flush.

I lost the SNG in 3rd place (top 2 pay). I lost some more on the Limit Challenge. I am now up about $14. Its enough to stay ahead of DNasty, but he can catch up any day now.

So, today I check my AOL. After reading assorted emails, I check my spam folder. AOL always seems to put some important emails in the spam folder, and this time it was a message from Noble Poker. I expected it to be another offer for some tournament, but as it turned out, it was to inform me that they credited my account $33.33 for having the highest hand of the day. So, I lost about $.50-1 by not re-raising, but the $33 is a nice consolation prize. I have to admit, I'm really liking Noble. I've been moderately successful, the bonuses are good, and they keep throwing extra money at me.

That's it for now. Come back later for more Poker hijinx.

posted by Jordan @ 8:40 AM, , links to this post




The Wrap Up (AC Trip Report Pt. 4)

I'm sick of writing about this trip already. Day 2, and we woke up about 9:30 or something. By the time we got to the Taj for the 12:15pm tournament, it was about 11am. The buy-in was $50+15, with 101 players. 18 spots paid out, but 10-18 only got their buy-in back. At this point, I only had losing sessions, so I needed something to turn around. Roose, Hole and I were separated to different tables. At my table was the usual assortment of players, including a guy who I immediately buddied up with. I can't really explain it, but when I'm playing poker at a casino, I tend to unconsciously choose one or two people to be my poker buddies. The day before, it was Pops and Angel, two old guys at the NL table. This time I chose Dustin, a younger guy who seemed to be from the same place as me.

I played a hand early and took down a pot by raising players out. The next hand, I look down to see 24s. I decided to limp, as I wanted to go on a streak, and I knew it was a hand that I could get paid out on if it hit. About 6 other players were in the hand. The flop was 49T, rainbow. I raised in early position, and Bill Murray-look-alike called. I was worried until the next card came out...4. Three of a kind?! I knew Bill would have no clue what I had. I pegged him at first or second pair. I raised the pot, and Bill called. On the river, a blank, I raised 1500. Note that we started with 5000. Bill called and I took down a huge pot. A little while later, I see Hole stand up at his table. He was done first out of the three of us. He wasn't getting any cards, and, knowing Hole, he was probably giving good action.

I continued playing relatively tight. I was moved to another table, ironically next to Dustin again. Thats where I discovered that he went to the same high school as me. Small world. I can't say much about individual hands, but I started going the way of Broomcorn's Uncle (i.e., I was losing my stack due to blinds and antes). I loosened up a bit and made some plays, but at this point my stack was too short to push anyone out. I made some opportune all-ins to steal blinds and antes, which kept me healthy for a while. Dustin and I were split up, and I realized we were down to 5 tables or so. I continued my tight play, but eventually had to make a move. The blinds were 800/1600, with 200 antes. I had about 3200. I pushed UTG with A3. I was called by an Indian dude who was playing anything. This time, he had A8. Damn. Thats all she wrote. I estimate that I was out in the 30s. Not too bad, but not a win. I outlasted Hole and Roose (I never saw when Roose busted out), which was some accomplishment because both players were putting me to shame at the ring games the day before.

On the way home, we were all in a gambling haze. It was a great time. I lost about $200 on poker, and my year to date is -79, which is atrocious. As with my Vegas trip, once I got home I didn't want to do anything poker related. Its kind of like leaving a buffet and being full for a day. It lasts a bit longer, though. I'm finally getting back into that loving feeling, so maybe I'll play a bit tonight.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the Limit Challenge. I don't want to play any serious stakes for a while, but I'll probably be singing a different tune in a few days. That's all folks. Thanks for reading. Holla Back!

posted by Jordan @ 8:14 PM, , links to this post




And On With the Show (AC Trip Report Pt. 3)

After playing 2/4 limit poker for an hour and a half with Roose and Hole at the Resorts new poker room, the three of us were pretty hungry. We decided to step away from the table and take a walk down the boardwalk to check out other hotels. At that point, I had lost $18 playing limit. Roose was near-even, if not a bonafied winner. Hole had doubled up his $80 entry. Go figure. The one guy who didn't want to play limit had hit it big. God Bless!

We hit the boardwalk with grumbling stomaches and settled on a Johnny Rockets with dirt cheap, but good food. I've only had Rockets once before in NYC and it was horrible. So this was a nice surprise. Our goal was to get a decent meal for cheap, as our money was meant for the poker tables and not the dinner tables.

We checked out the Bally's poker room, which was fairly packed. We would've sat down, but there was a line and we still wanted to check out the rest that AC had to offer. Also, I was consciously trying to avoid playing, as I wanted to avoid spending 100% of my time gambling.

We next headed over to the Sands for my sake; Roose and Hole both knew the room from a previous visit. Upon entering the out-of-the-way room (it seemed like it was on a floor by itself), we were immediately called over by the woman running the list, "Anywhere you want boys!" I guess it was kind of dead, since every table had two empty seats or so. There were only about 4-6 tables going, but I can see that they had maybe 20 or so total. Keep in mind that this is all my recollection, which is notoriously bad. A dealer even called us over to play at his table. It was definitely quiet, volume-wise, and the scene was kind of depressing overall. We made our exit and headed back to the Resorts' poker room. There were still the same two 2/4 tables, but we spoke to pit boss Dan and asked about the possibility of a NLHE table. He said that he would love to. In fact, he already had nearly a full table of people who wanted to play. The only problem...he didn't have a dealer! WHAT!? Resorts will get a letter from me! We walked around a bit, during which I lost $100 at a 4-card poker table game, and rob won $200-300 at a 3-card poker game. He was hitting flushes more than Roose after a spicy meal (sorry Dave).

Let me also add that Dave at this point bought my last $20 in chips and then placed them on the Roulette wheel. When he came back with $40 in chips, he handed me half. What?! Giving away free money? Thank you Dave. I was down about my losses, and you were cool enough to give away $20. Dave's saying for the trip was, "You guys come here for the money. I come here to hang out with my friends." I wouldn't want to gamble with anyone else. That's a class act.

Finally, we returned to the Resorts poker room, and gave up waiting for a NL table. We sat for the $2/4 limit, during which I lost $20. But then the NLHE table openned up. The table was great. Angel, a tough-looking older Italian guy in a mesh shirt with a gold medallion chain, sat in the 1st seat. Asian guy was to his left, followed by Robbie Hole. Next to me was Pops, an old, accented guy, who first sat and asked what game we were playing. He claimed to have no clue, and at times, it seemed like he had no clue. However, he won a lot, often by luck. I still wonder if he was playing us all. I was next, followed by Roose, and two guys who thought they were hot-shot pros. These asses were sitting their with their smug looks, stupid glasses, and shitty demeanor.

There were others who came and went, but these were the main players. The table was wild, man. I mean wild. Raises of $50 was common, after a while. Only two hands stick with me right now. They are both losers. Let me also admit that I lost my $100 buy-in and didn't re-buy, thanks to Roose, who kept me from buying back on tilt.

In the first hand of interest, I started with KJ. I raised it to 12$, and only Pops, to my right, called. The flop were all low cards. Pops checked. I raised $20. He called. The turn was K. Sweet! I raised $25. He called. I knew that Pops would call me down with any pair, so I wasn't too concerned yet. The river was an Ace. Pops checked, and I checked too. He had A3. There were no 3s on the board. The dude was calling me down with Ace high. Damn! I'm glad I didn't raise on the end though. That would have been a rookie mistake that I couldn't live down.

Later in the night, I had about $45 left, and was in the big blind with QT suited. Roose called UTG. Jackass #1 raised it to $15. Jackass had been betting big the entire time, trying to play the bully. I saw him show down crappy hands earlier after pre-flop raises; I also hadn't seen him show any premium hands after preflop raises. I called, as did Roose. The flop couldn't have been better. It was Qxx. I raised all-in. Roose folded, and Jackass stared me down. When I want someone to call (and I wanted him to call) I'll send all sorts of signals. I stared back at him, like I was trying to force him to fold. Most knowledgable players know that when someone stares you down, they are actually trying to look strong because their cards are weak. He took a long time. And then he called, with QK. DAMN! I don't know what happened. Obviously, I overplayed my top pair. I guess I have to chalk it up to bad timing. I must improve my game and get over this.

In the end, I think Hole was up...again, and Roose was okay as well. I was down another $100, bringing my total poker losses to $138. Shite!

We had a drink. Smoked a bit. Ate some awesome room service and passed out.

Coming up next: The Taj Tourney.

posted by Jordan @ 11:48 AM, , links to this post




You Decide #9(AC Trip Report Pt. 2)

The poker room at the Resorts was a nice surprise. When we arrived, there were two full tables only, and about eight to ten other tables entirely empty. The only game at that point was $2/4. Hole was adamantly against limit poker, but in the end, the poker bug won out and we all sat down, conveniently at a brand new table, sitting in seats 4 (me), 5 (Roose), and 6 (Hole). Amongst the crowd at the table were poker staples like young Asian guy, College guy, So-Old-I'm-On-A-Resperator Guy, So-Hot-You-Won't-Play-Good-Poker-Against-Me girl, and old Asian guy. Yes, old and young Asians were represented, like two very different sides of the same coin.

You Decide #9

I wish I kept better track of hands at this table. I only remember one hand particularly, which I've made You Decide #8. To tell you the truth, I almost don't want comments on this hand, because I'm afraid of what I'll get. But here goes: I limped with KTs, spades in the BB. The flop came down A77, with two spades. I was worried about the full house, but up until that point, players were staying in with anything, and I was playing tight and itching for some action. There was one raise on the flop from Robbie Hole. Young Asian, Old Asian (OA), and I called. The turn was a blank. Hole raised again. Sometimes, it seems like he is always raising. To his credit though, he was getting great cards and playing fine poker. OA called again. I thought about folding, but figured that if I hit my flush, it would be a sweet payday. The river was a spade. I raised with the nut flush. Hole called. OA pushed all in for another two. I asked if I could raise again, and was told that I could complete OA's raise. I raised the two additional bucks. Hole called, announcing that he was definitely going to lose. He showed the Ace and I jumped for joy. No chance that old dirty bastard had the A7 now...WRONG! OA took it down with A7, for a full house. Ugh!

I'm going to post this, as I'd rather give you morsels of the trip report here and there rather than the whole chunk five days from now. Enjoy!

posted by Jordan @ 4:46 PM, , links to this post




In the Red, but not Blue (AC Trip Report Pt. 1)

I should keep this short because I am terribly busy, but I'd like to quickly report on my trip to AC with Robbie Hole and David Roose. While the trip was an unmitigated success vacation-wise, the gambling was abysmal. I am now in the red for the year as far as poker is concerned. Robbie Hole put it best, though, when he said, "You've played more this year than anyone I know, so to be down $10 for the year is no big deal." True enough, Rob. I suppose it was also true a day later, when I was in the hole about $75.

Now, enough of that crap. Lets get on with the trip report.

The night before the trip, fiance Kim and I went out to a bar called the Delancey for Roose's girlfriends birthday. I arrived home hammered at about 2 or 3 (who knows really) and passed out with visions of casinos dancing through my head.

The next morning, the visions were still there, along with a headache and dry mouth compliments of the hang-over fairy. I rolled out of bed, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and hopped in Hole's car when he pulled up at around 11:30am. By the time we hit the road after a quick Deli detour, it was noon. The ride was uneventful, aside from the usual chatter and sing-along tunes. At least it wasn't raining, which seems to be the standard for AC trips with the Hole.

During the ride, I had bouts of excitement. That feeling in your chest, when you can anticipate something as exciting as poker. It reminds me of that feeling I used to get as a teenager on my way to meet up with a girl. This time, the girl in question was Lady Luck.

There's an old misogynistic joke that I think applies very well to Lady Luck. It goes like this: What's the difference between a Whore and a Bitch? A Whore will sleep with everyone, and a Bitch will sleep with everyone except for you. Lady Luck was a bitch this trip. I was happy to see my friends succeed (especially on the first day), but it didn't happen so much for me.

Upon arrival at the Resorts, where I had a free room, we entered our mock-suite. I didn't expect much for the room, but it was huge, with two full or queen beds and a couch (and later a cot). There were two walk-in closets, two entrances, and a nice bathroom.

We tossed down our stuff and hit the casino floor. We started by doing the obligatory walk-through. I originally stayed at the Resorts last Christmas because it was the cheapest Casino hotel on the boardwalk. I didn't expect much, but I was happily surprised. The Resorts has an adequate, but not large, casino. It didn't have a poker room last Christmas, but this was de minimis, as the Trump Taj Mahal was right next door with one of, if not the, largest poker rooms in Atlantic City.

After walking the floor for a bit, Roose and I sat down at a $10 minimum blackjack table. I admit that I am not just a poker player, but an out and out gambler, so all games appeal to me. I was up and down at the table, but finally walked away dead-even. Roose, on the other hand, took down a good $150, all thanks to some great timing. After a while, Roose decided to bet his total winnings, at that point $60, on a whim. No matter what, he was walking after that hand. Sure enough, blackjack came, and he took down $90 on top of his $60. As Roose would say, God Bless!

We left the blackjack table in good spirits and chanced upon a happy surprise: a sign that stated, New Poker Room. What? Had the folks at Resorts finally figured out that people play poker?! Would we have access to a poker room in our very hotel? Yes sir!

I'm going to post this and add Part II of the trip report in a little bit. Enjoy for now. Coming up: Poker at the Resorts, Stupid Table Games, and the Taj Tourney!

posted by Jordan @ 10:34 AM, , links to this post




Good Vibes All Around

Bam! What a day. It was one of those days when you get up early, spend 3 hours doing everything that you've put off for 3 weeks, and then find yourself with nothing to do but entertain yourself. And you all know how I like to entertain myself!

The Limit Challenge has made some more big strides. This was after going on a cold deck losing spree, which resulted at me being up a measely $6 at my lowest. But then, after sticking around and playing some tight poker broken up by aggressive action, I made a turn around and got back to healthy...and beyond. Here is the general way that it went:

I started about 11:15am, and in 15 minutes, was up a small $2. This was followed by some errands, and then another stint of poker starting at 1:20pm, during which I lost $11+ in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then, at 5pm, i played for 1 hour and 20 minutes, during which I was down about $20 until I came back for a cool $0.89 win. Another half-hour of play from 7 to 7:30 resulted in a huge $16+ uptick. Booya! I was hitting cards, making choice laydowns, and doing it all at a table that would not fold to my super hands. Suckers! Just short of 8pm I sat for a quick 8 minutes, during which I left up $6. Dizzamn!

During all of this, I made dinner, folded laundry, cleaned my room, watched The Wire on my working On Demand service (thank you Time Warner). I got a lot done because I could only sit at that one .25/.50 table at Noble Poker.

Actually, that is not entirely true. I finally got impatient and played in two small SNG tourneys today, which I have separated from my Limit Challenge earnings. In the first, it was a 6 seater $2 buy in NLHE, in which I took down 2nd to win about $1.40. Small stakes, indeed, but at long as there is some action, I am there. In the second, I played a Heads-Up game for $5. I whooped some serious poker ass. I was the aggressor the entire time, constantly chipping away at my opponent. He never had a chance.

As a result of days worth of top-notch poker, my bankroll has grown to about $105. For me to move up to the next Limit Challenge level, I need to raise that to about $130. Its some odd math, but trust me when I say I've been meticulous in recording and separating my winnings.

Tomorrow, I am off to AC with Hole and Roose. It hardly seems real, even though I'm packed and ready to go. Don't get me wrong. It isn't such a big deal. But usually before a trip such as this, I am amped. OOOHWEEE! Poker poker poker poker poker.

Houston, we have a Poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:40 PM, , links to this post